We slept in a little later today as we needed it, but not that much. Woke up at 7:30 am, blogged a little more and then we gathered all our things and we headed downstairs to breakfast at about 8:15 or so. I was surprised that I was not so hungry. I had forgotten that at a late hour last night I had eaten a very filling dinner.
We left all our suitcases at the front desk with reception as we were going to go to the Galeries Lafayette and Princesse Tam Tam before heading to the train station to go to Nice. Although we had discussed our activities for the morning the evening before, we forgot that we were going to leave our luggage at the hotel. We actually left the hotel with our luggage, started talking and then realized what our plans were. Silly us. We turned around and then dropped them off at the hotel.
Some of the confusion arose as I had not yet been able to figure out what I wanted to do in the morning. I decided that I wanted to shop, but felt it was best to just stay in our area so that we were not lugging around the suitcases. Fortunately, both stores I wanted to go to were in our area and within close walking distance. I had to decide what I wanted to do and then let Margy know, so that she would figure out our timeline.
Walked to the Galeries Lafayette located at 40, Boulevard Haussmann. I had been told that they are like our Holt Renfrew but cheaper. We were fortunate that the store we went to just happened to be their flagship or main store. It was everything and more. The ceiling was gorgeous. All the glass. The store must have been a museum or art gallery at one time. It was old and regal.
The main floor had parfums, and purses from every famous designer, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Longchamps, Hermes, etc.
Laura, my former co-worker who hails from Ireland had recommended getting a Longchamp bag. I found a beautiful purple one with a dragonfly on it. This was a limited edition bag. I also saw another of their limited edition bags. This one had a cream background with their ceiling in red in one corner of the bag. Very beautiful. Hmm, this would be the bag for me. 67 euro. They also had black and red but currently no stock. I decided to wait as I wasn’t 100% certain. I am like that love bird sitting next to another lovebird declaring that I love him but then if another love bird had come along I might love him too. Inanimate objects though, not
We then went to look at original designer clothes. Some were reasonable, around 50 euro for a t shirt and 200 euro for a blouse. I saw dresses for 115 euros. We didn’t look at that many clothes though as I had decided that when I came to Paris I wanted shoes, a bag and lingerie. Next time I will get some clothes.
We went up to the third floor to see lingerie. This was me in a candy store. Selection, selection, selection. There were many names I was not familiar with and there were many I knew, DKNY, Lejaby, Dior, D & G, Dim, Calvin Klein, Rosy, Chantelle, and the one that turned out to be my favourite, Banana Moon. Pretty and bright and colourful. Right up my alley. I very happily tried them on and made my purchase. They also carried Princesse Tam Tam. I do plan to go to the Princesse Tam Tam store but so far it hasn’t worked out. French lingerie, the crème de la crème.
Galeries Lafayette is a very beautiful store and one thing really surprised me is that they had a McDonalds inside the store. Such a contradiction for such an elegant store. No disrespect Jer but really, McDonalds in a fancy French department store.
While walking back to our hotel, we bought, to eat on the train, a nice curried chicken baguette from Brioche Dorée. They are a chain and have great baguettes at reasonable prices. We paid somewhere between 3 and 4 euros.
We picked up our luggage and bid the desk clerk adieu again. A little bit of a workout as we had to carry our suitcases down the stairs at the Saint Georges Metro. We took the train to Madeline, got off and then transferred to the line going to Olympiades. From there we had to get to Gare de Lyon to board our IDTGV train to Nice. Important to keep your Metro ticket. Although it is only one use when you are travelling in the Metro going from line to line, when you are going from the Metro to the TGV you have to go through two or three turnstiles. You still need to put your ticket in to go through. The doors are large enough for you to bring luggage through. .
After finding and going to the toilet we headed to sit down at a restaurant. To go to the toilet, it cost 50 cents. You put in your money through a slot and walk through a turnstile. There is an attendant there and you walk back out the way you came in. No payment to go out.
At the restaurant, I had to have my arm twisted, actually no I did not, I was very happy to have a beer, yes another as it tastes so good when it is this hot and humid out. While we were sitting in this little restaurant in the train station, three army personnel in army fatigues walked by carrying machine guns. I couldn’t believe that they do this as since I have been in Paris, there has not been a lot of police presence. At least nothing excessive. I have seen police vehicles with their sirens on as they were zipping down the street. But I have not seen any on foot. Perhaps a stronger presence such as this would keep a lot of the crime down in Vancouver.
The train station was quite large and felt very much like you were in an airport. The same types of little restaurants for all sorts of food. Locker area for luggage, information booths, duty free stores and seats to wait on. There were tv screen throughout with the times trains were leaving and from which exit.
The funny thing was that there were pigeons and quite a few of them wandering around eating crumbs and sometimes taking flight for short distances. It was the norm apparently.
We walked through to near the end of the train. When our tickets were purchased we obtained second class ones and the various entrances to the the train was marked either 1 or 2 signifying either 1st or 2nd class. We even had designated seats and each passenger had to have their name listed on the ticket. I thought that this was smart and efficient.
We sat on the bottom row of the train after stowing our suitcases in one of the two fair sized luggage racks at the train’s entrance.
We left at 1:46 pm and would be arriving in Nice around 7:24 pm for a total train trip of just over 5 ½ hours. The trip in the beginning was mostly farmland and not very interesting to watch. I started to blog and before I knew it had to go to sleep as I was dozing off while typing. I slept for about 1 hour and then spent the rest of the time talking to Margy, reading a bit about Nice and reading about Chez Brigitte Guesthouse which is where we would be staying for the first two nights in Nice. After that we were booked at a hostel for our 6 final nights.
Some of the scenery on the train was quite nice. Saw Antibes, Monaco and San Raphael. We also went through quite a few tunnels and saw lots of nice trees as well as homes. I found the trees to be very interesting as there was such a variety. Some were palm, others looked like broccoli and trees back home.
No food on this train for purchase, it was an older one and it also did not have any plugs for computers or anything else. Washroom of course and so basic train.
When we arrived in Nice as soon as we got off the train Margy looked at me and said the air feels like Hawaii. It did as you could feel the heat and humidity right away. While walking back to our hostel from the beach sometime around 10:30 pm a sign showed that the temperature was 25 degrees. Pretty hot for this late at night.
Well, we found Chez Brigitte without any difficulty and we met her little dog Mishma. She has a very nice place and there is a separate toilet, a large sale de bain with tub, sink and this was where her hot water tank and washing machine were located. We had full access to all the cutlery and dishes as well as equipment and fridge, coffeemaker and microwave. We never did use any of it as we were out all day.
Our rooms were clean and a good size. Roomy. Large wardrobe in one corner and hooks on the wall to hang clothes. A chair and small table. We slept in single beds and there were nightstands along with lights on each side of the bed. There was also a carpet between my side of the bed and the window. We talked to our hostess for a bit about which restaurants to go eat at and then we left to go to eat. By this time it was late. About 8:15 pm.
We walked towards the promenade. Nice is very unique. I have never been in a place like it. There was the tropical aspect, the pebbly beach, the promenade that went on forever, the variety of stores such as a large Galeries Lafayette, Virgin Megastore, Mango, H & M, Etam and others. Lots of Asian restaurants, Le Cambodia, Thai restaurants and a funny Chinese one that served dim sum and other items but in a deli format. Gotta check that one out a little closer as it looked interesting. Oh yes, KFC, McDonalds and McDonalds competition, Quick.
At the end of the promenade we walked down some steps to a maze of alleyways. This was Old Nice and the streets wound around and around. Selling dresses, large hats, postcards, souvenirs, cookies and anything and everything. We found our socca place, Lou Pilha Leva and ordered a socca which was the size of a large pizza. She cut off a fair sized portion and gave it to us. We also ordered a piece of pissaladiere which resembles pizza and has onions and an anchovy on it. Very yum. Like socca a lot. It is a chickpea crepe and is the only food item I was able to find that is native to Nice. We had drinks with our dinner, my new favourite drink in this heat is Orangina. I thought the young girl that served us had lots of character. She yelled out quite loudly each order and then as something was ready for a customer she yelled that out too. By the end of the evening she must be speechless.
After finishing our meal we went for a stroll in the area. Checking out various shops and restaurants to see where we might want to eat or shop tomorrow. We got ice cream for dessert at 10:30 pm from Glacier Pinocchio. He did not have a line up whereas the other ice cream place which is famous had a hoard of people. As Margy is the ice cream conneseuire I let her make the decision as to whether we would buy ice cream from here or the other place. The young guy was funny and as he was giving me my change asked me what day it was. I responded Wednesday, Mercredi. He says he doesn’t give change today and laughed and gave me my change. For being such a sweetheart I gave him one of my loonies and Margy explained that it was a dollar coin from Canada. He happily responded that I need to give him back my ice cream as he was going to make me something special. He made me a rose ice cream and that was so nice. He says that he is going to the US next year and will use the money then. I asked him where in the US and he said Washington, DC as his sister lives there.
We looked at a few more restaurants and started to work our way out of the winding streets to get to the promenade and to our hotel. As we walked along the promenade we saw a guy, could have been a woman, as they were wearing a white mask and a gold and blue outfit. He was playing some medieval sounding guitar music. Very haunting.
There was also a group of young boys rollerblading and weaving in and out of small pylons. Very small pylons that were the size of shot glasses.
As we turned left on the promenade there is a large open area that is very festive and fair like. There you will find all sorts of entertainment. You will know that you are in the right area when you look up into the sky and see glowing statues high above the ground of glass men kneeling. They are in different colours, pink, blue and green.
Some of the musicians were singers and there was one creative group of men dressed as South American Indian as well as Native American Indian complete with the headdress.
Got in around 11:30 or so and we both got our showers. Read for a bit. I blogged for that much longer and off we were to sleep.